Charred Octopus Recipe

A recipe from the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco’s MKT Restaurant - Bar.

MKT Restaurant Four Seasons Charred Octopus

When it comes to sourcing sustainable seafood, Ocean Wise looks out for Canada’s sea life, while south of the border duties are taken on by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. The Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco’s MKT Restaurant – Bar has recently partnered with the program, and with entrées of chef Esteban Soria’s roasted branzino and Mount Lassen trout on the horizon, the ideal appetizer will whet your seafood appetite without going overboard. Enter Soria’s charred octopus dish. For those unable to enjoy the dish in MKT’s ornate lounge, fear not, we present the recipe below.

Charred Octopus with Heart of Palm, Arugula Salsa Verde, and Cranberry Relish
By chef de cuisine Esteban Soria, MKT Restaurant – Bar, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.

Serves six.

Braised Octopus
5 pounds of Spanish octopus (cleaned)
2 bay leaves
1 medium white onion (large dice)
1 medium carrot (large dice)
1 stalk celery (large dice)
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon chili powder (mixed with the EVOO )
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Arugula Salsa Verde
2 quarts arugula (reserve 1 quart as a garnish for plate up)
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup capers (rinsed and squeezed out)
6 cornichons
2 slices sourdough bread (no crust)
1 garlic clove
To taste salt & pepper
To taste EVOO

Cranberry-Chili Relish
1 quart fresh cranberries
1 pint sugar
1 cup water
1 piece cinnamon
1 piece clove
1 piece star anise
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ cup champagne vinegar

Hearts of Palm
1 pound of hearts of palm
1 gallon water
½ lemon
1 pinch of salt
1 bay leaf

Pickled Mustard Seeds
½ cup dehydrated mustard seeds
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups champagne vinegar

Pickled Red Onion
1 medium red onion (julienned)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups champagne vinegar

To make the octopus, place all ingredients except for the chili powder and extra virgin olive oil into a medium sauce pot. Cover and place in oven at 200 degrees. After an hour of cooking time, uncover the octopus and there should be a lot of natural liquid from the octopus for it to braise in. Cover and continue to braise until the octopus is very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes more. To test for doneness, stick a fork in the thickest part of the octopus—it is done if the fork slides out easily. Remove the octopus from the pot and let cool slightly at room temperature. Cut the octopus into 3/4-inch chunks, skin and all. Marinate in chili powder and a splash of EVOO. After marinating the octopus, cook on all sides for about 2 minutes each till surface area of the octopus is dry and does not appear slimy.

For the Arugula Salsa Verde, place 1 quart of arugula, distilled white vinegar, capers, cornichons, bread, garlic clove, and salt and pepper into a blender and emulsify, adding enough EVOO until smooth.

To prepare the cranberry-chili relish, in a medium sauce pot bring the sugar, water, cinnamon, clove, star anise, chili powder and champagne vinegar to a slight boil, until the sugar dissolves and becomes a syrup. Add cranberries to the pot and simmer until cranberries appear bright red and plump. You will notice the skin tightening as the juices and flavors develop inside the berries. Remove from the heat and transfer onto a baking sheet to cool just before the berries begin to burst.

If using fresh Hawaiian hearts of palm, bring the gallon of water, lemon, salt and bay leaf to a boil in a pot. Add the hearts of palm, and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat. Once cooled down, cut into desired size or shape. Season with EVOO, salt, and pepper. If using prepared hearts of palm, check recommended cooking instructions.

To make the pickled mustard seeds, place the mustard seeds, sugar, water and champagne vinegar in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.

For the pickled red onion, place all sugar water and champagne vinegar in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour over red onion and let sit out until cool.

The Plate
To plate this dish smear a little salsa verde on the plate. Place hearts of palm randomly on plate. Place the grilled octopus over the smear of salsa verde. Toss pickled red onion, reserved arugula, and pickled mustard seeds together in a bowl and place over the octopus. Lastly, spoon a few healthy dollops of relish around the plate.


Never miss a story. Sign up for NUVO’s weekly newsletter.